I operate these days on going with what feels right to me at the time, and I feel the time has come to talk about Stephen, about the man he was.
Still, I expect this entry will take me more than a few days. Fair warning -it will be very long, with lots of pictures.
Stephen treated me like a queen…he spoiled me. He thought I was practically perfect. No matter how much weight I gained, he truly never cared, no matter what the scale said. He would say “You’re not perfect, but you’re perfect for me.” The one thing he could never get used to, though, was how I sleep with my eyes slightly open. Fair enough, really – it is kind of creepy. He loved to bring me my first cup of coffee, and wave it under my nose, and watch as the aroma brought me awake.
This is from our wedding day. I love the smug look on his face as he watches me walk down the aisle toward him. We were both quite heavy then. We would diet together, but to get healthier, not because we didn’t like the way each other looked. He loved it when other men looked at me, often pointing it out to me when I failed to notice. And I did fail to notice, Stephen was all I could see.
Our wedding cake. I didn’t make it, it’s bad luck for a bride to make her own wedding cake, don’t you know. When I found this topper and showed it to him, he thought it was the best thing ever. He got such a kick out of it. It was a very small do, our wedding, just close friends and family.
Our wedding luncheon, with music provided by a string quartet. You can barely see it behind the flowers, but Stephen was drinking OJ, while I poured champagne down my neck. He was my designated driver, always. He wasn’t much of a drinker, and he liked to see me enjoy myself. When we went out to dinner, he wouldn’t order me a glass of champagne, he ordered a bottle. As he hated champagne, it meant I had to force myself to drink it all. “It’s just bubbles”, he would say.
Stephen was a big man in every way. He was ebullient, and he filled a room with the force of his personality. He was the most positive person I’ve ever known. My mother’s nickname for him was “Sunshine”. He was charming, and very much a gentleman. He enjoyed the company of women, and was a natural flirt. He was propositioned often, and couldn’t wait to get home to share it with me. I would always say “I can’t blame them for trying. I’d do the same thing thing in their shoes.” Neither one of us ever had any fears of the other straying…we were so firmly a unit, it just wasn’t even a thought we had.
Here, Stephen is wearing the paper crown from his Christmas cracker, holding a glass of his infamous Pimm’s cocktail. He kept pouring it for Mom that Christmas, and she
passed out took a nap soon after we finished lunch. It really did sneak up on you. Delicious, and deadly. Much like the man himself, really. He’s standing in our old kitchen – ugh, I don’t miss it. He could be very silly, with a very dry wit -he made me laugh constantly. I so enjoyed his sense of humour. He was also not above poking fun at himself, as the Brit with the stiff upper lip. He was a man supremely confident in his own skin.
He also enjoyed making other husbands feel inadequate. When we finally got around to remodeling the kitchen, he told me “Get it exactly the way you want it, because we’re not doing this again.” I took him at his word. It made him happy to see my joy in it, a kitchen designed for me, for exactly the way I work. He loved watching me in it, and needless to say he enjoyed what came out of it. It was so very gratifying to cook for him, he loved my cooking, and baking. To this day, it amazes me, my gorgeous kitchen.
My kitchen, with construction almost finished. He loved to show it off, and watch the women go crazy, and their husbands would curse him, “Thanks for fucking nothing, mate.” He really was a ball buster, my Stephen.
Stephen was the luckiest son of a bitch I’ve ever known. It got to be a joke, how everything just went his way, just when he needed it to. Always a parking spot right up front…the list is endless. We’d say “Oh, that’s a bit of luck!”…our private joke, as if it was a one off.
He could be a son of a bitch, on occasion. He held a grudge like no other. He could also be a judgmental, cranky old bastard. My husband was also a bit of a hoarder. I loved every part of him, though. More importantly I accepted him, the good and the bad. As he accepted me, exactly as I was, with no need to change anything about me.
How cute was he?! He was constantly combing down his curls in the front, smoothing them out. I adored his curls, and he could always tell by the look on my face, that his curls had freed themselves. He would grab his brush and tame them.
I was his queen, and he was the king of his castle. It worked for us…in every relationship, someone’s got to lead. I was happy for that to be Stephen. He was very protective of me. He took such good care of me, and made sure I took care of myself. He’s still taking care of me, in big ways and small, with his forward planning.
Coming up on half a year since the worst day of my life, I know some people in my position have remarried by now. I can’t manage to feed myself 3 square meals a day, it is beyond me to understand moving on that quickly. I understand everyone is different, grief is different for everyone. I don’t see myself getting married again – Stephen left some pretty big shoes to fill. He will always be, in my heart, my husband.
He was my other half, a perfect husband. Not a perfect person, by any stretch of the imagination, but he was perfect for me. I adored his idiosyncrasies, and his love changed me, made me a better person. I am broken-hearted over the loss of this man…I am broken.
I will eventually fit the pieces together, and I will be a changed woman yet again at the end of it. In a year, or 2…or 5.